The Cost Of Exterior Painting And What Changes It

Painting a house exterior white

Exterior painting is a daunting task, which is why many homeowners look to hire a professional painter. If you’re considering looking into how to paint the exterior of your home, you’re likely wondering how much it will cost to paint. The cost of exterior painting varies depending on a variety of factors, including the size of your home, the type of paint used, and the extent of prep work that needs to be done.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the average costs of exterior painting, as well as some factors that can affect the final cost to paint a house exterior. If you’re curious about what goes into exterior house painting, keep reading!

Average Exterior Painting Cost By Square Footage Of A Home

Each exterior painting project includes power washing to clean and remove organic growth, caulking, masking to protect parts of the house not being painted (like windows), priming bare wood, and painting the body and/or trim.

Here are the averages for the cost to paint a house exterior by square footage

  • A 1,200-square-foot ranch home can cost between $8,000 and $12,000
  • A two-story 2,500-square-foot home can cost between $12,000 and $25,000
  • A 3,500-square-foot home can cost between $15,000 and $30,000
  • A 4,500-square-foot home can cost between $20,000 and $40,000

*These are Tribble Painting’s average exterior house painting cost estimates, subject to change based on each unique exterior painting project

Average Exterior Painting Cost By Story

Painting a two story home on a ladder

According to This Old House, the average cost to paint a house exterior by story is:

  • 1 story is between $1,000 and $6,000
  • 2 stories are between $3,500 and $8,000
  • 3 stories are between $5,000 and $12,000

*These are national averages and do not reflect factors such as professional skill level, siding type, or other important cost-changing factors

Exterior Painting Cost By Siding Type

Here are some common types of siding and an estimate of what you can expect to pay to have them painted (according to This Old House):

  • Wood: $1 to $3 per square foot
  • Vinyl: $1 to $2.50 per square foot
  • Metal: $1 to $4 per square foot
  • Brick: $2.50 to $5 per square foot

*These are national averages and do not reflect factors such as professional skill level, number of stories, or other important cost-changing factors

Exterior Painting Cost By Project

Painting exterior trim can cost between $7,000 and $15,000, though it can go higher. The main differentiating factors are house size and the amount of detail on the trim.

The cost to paint a deck can range from $3,000 to $10,000.

  • Small decks from 150 to 250 square feet are roughly $3,000
  • Medium decks from 300 to 600 square feet are about $4,000 to $6,000
  • Large decks from 600 to 1,000 square feet are around $6,000 to $10,000

What Changes The Cost Of Exterior Painting For A House?

Paint brush holder in grass by house

Siding Type

Different types of siding can have their own best type of exterior paint and other variances. This causes the cost to paint a house exterior to change.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is by far the most popular type of siding used on homes today. It’s relatively low-maintenance and can be cleaned with a garden hose and some soapy water.

In terms of painting, vinyl siding is one of the easiest types of siding to paint. That’s because there’s no need to do any extensive prep work before painting. In most cases, all you’ll need to do is give the siding a good power washing to remove any dirt and grime.

This gives vinyl siding a cheaper exterior painting cost than most any other siding type.

Wood Siding

Wood siding requires a bit more prep work than vinyl siding before it can be painted. That’s because wood is susceptible to rot, so any areas that are beginning to rot will need to be repaired before painting can begin. In addition, the entire surface will need to be sanded in order to create a smooth surface for painting.

Once the prep work is done, however, wood siding is relatively easy to paint. Still, the extra prep work can raise the exterior painting cost for wood siding.

Brick Or Stone Siding

Brick and stone are two of the most durable materials you can use for your home’s exterior, but they’re also two of the most expensive.

When it comes to painting, brick and stone are also two of the most difficult materials to work with. That’s because both materials are porous, so any paint that’s applied will need to be sealed in order to prevent it from being absorbed into the material. In addition, any cracks or chips in the brick or stone will need to be repaired before painting can begin.

These factors increase the cost to paint a house exterior made from any kind of masonry.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is one of the least popular types of siding because it’s difficult to work with and easily damaged.

Paint doesn’t adhere well to aluminum, so it needs to be sanded and primed before painting. This added prep work can add significantly to the cost of painting aluminum siding. In addition, aluminum siding is easily dented or scratched, so any damage will need to be repaired before painting can begin.

These combine to raise the cost to paint a house exterior made from aluminum.

Type Of Paint Finish

Paint spraying a house exterior

The type of exterior paint finish you choose will also affect the cost to paint your house exterior. Paints with a higher sheen or gloss tend to cost more than ones with a lower sheen. This is due to the makeup of the actual paint.

Flat Finish

A flat finish has a matte sheen and helps hide imperfections in the surface being painted. It’s a popular choice for exterior painting because it doesn’t reflect light, which can be beneficial in areas with intense sunlight.

Flat finishes are also more forgiving when it comes to brush strokes and other imperfections. The main downside to a flat finish is that it doesn’t clean as easily as other finishes and can require more touch-ups over time.

Expect to pay $30 to $40 per gallon for quality flat paint.

Satin Finish

Satin paint has a low-gloss sheen that’s easy to clean and hides imperfections well. The main downside to satin paint is that it’s more susceptible to fading and chipping than other finishes.

Expect to pay $30 to $50 per gallon for satin paint.

Semi-Gloss Finish

Semi-gloss paint has a glossier sheen that’s durable and easy to clean. The main downside to semi-gloss paint is that it shows imperfections more easily than some other finishes.

Expect to pay $35 to $55 per gallon for semi-gloss paint.

High-Gloss Finish

High-gloss paint has a mirror-like sheen and is the most durable type of paint finish. The main downside to high-gloss paint is that it shows imperfections more easily than other finishes and can be difficult to apply evenly.

Expect to pay $40 to $60 per gallon for high-quality high-gloss paint.

Type Of Exterior Paint

Exterior latex paint

Exterior paint prices will vary based on the type of paint you choose.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is known for being durable and easy to work with, and it can be used on a variety of different surfaces. One gallon of latex paint typically costs between $20 and $70.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint provides a high-gloss finish and is especially durable in harsh weather conditions. One gallon of oil-based paint typically costs between $30 and $90.

*Tribble Painting doesn’t use oil-based paints for exterior house painting because it shows too many of the imperfections in the siding

Alkyd Paint

Alkyd paint is a type of oil-based paint that has been modified to dry more quickly than traditional oil-based paints. It’s a good option if you’re looking for oil-based paint but don’t want to deal with the long drying time. One gallon of alkyd paint typically costs between $35 and $55.

Color Choice And Drastic Color Changes

The cost of exterior painting is higher for certain colors

Changing colors drastically, like from dark blue to white, takes more work and materials to do a quality job. Painters need more time for prepping and painting and more materials, such as additional coats of primer and paint. For many, it’s worth it to have one of the popular house exterior colors.

Dark Colors vs. Light Colors

One factor that will affect the price you pay for exterior house painting is the darkness or lightness of the color you choose. Darker colors tend to be more expensive than lighter colors because they require more paint to achieve full coverage.

If you’re set on a dark color for your home’s exterior, you might be able to offset some of the cost by choosing a cheaper paint brand. However, it’s important to remember that cheaper paints may not provide the same level of quality and durability as more expensive options.

Custom Colors vs. Standard Colors

Another factor that can influence the cost of your exterior painting project is whether you choose a custom color or a standard color. Custom colors have to be mixed, which can add to the overall price of your project. On the other hand, standard colors are usually less expensive because they’re ready-made and don’t require any mixing.

By Specific Part Of A Home

The three main elements of a home that painters will need to account for are siding, trim, and eaves/soffits. Siding is the primary element that will be painted and will generally make up the bulk of the cost. Trim includes any door or window frames, as well as gingerbread-style detailing on older homes. Eaves/soffits are the horizontal boards that make up the roof overhang.

In terms of square footage, the siding will generally make up 40 to 60% of the total area to be painted, with trim coming in at 20 to 40% and eaves/soffits making up 10 to 20%.

However, it’s important to note that these percentages can vary depending on the particular style of home. For example, a home with a lot of large windows may have less footage of actual siding than one with fewer windows.

Labor Costs

Labor costs can differ from contractor to contractor. Most of the time, about 70 to 80% of the total cost goes toward labor.

Cheaper contractors may charge as low as $20 per hour to paint a house exterior. This may seem like the way to go until you see the terrible job they do and have an awful experience. At least, that’s what we hear from clients who chose that route first.

Higher-quality painting contractors can ask for between $40 and $80, which will increase the cost to paint your house exterior. You’ll love it because they will have courteous teams that’ll treat both you and your home well. You’ll also love how your home looks once the project is over.

Who You Hire

Tribble Painting van

Professional Painters

If you want the best possible job for your money, then you’ll want to hire a professional painter to paint your house exterior. Professional painters specialize in painting homes and have the experience and training necessary to get the job done right. They also usually carry insurance, which protects you in case something goes wrong.

The downside to hiring a professional painter is that they usually charge more per hour than handymen or painting companies. However, because they’re usually more efficient and can complete the job in less time, the overall cost is often about the same—or even less—than what you would pay for a lower-quality job.


Handymen are versatile workers who are able to do a variety of tasks around the home, including painting. The major advantage of hiring a handyman is that they usually charge less per hour than professional painters.

However, because they’re not specifically trained in painting houses, they often take longer to complete the job, which ultimately ends up costing you more in the long run. In addition, many handymen don’t carry insurance, so if something goes wrong while they’re working on your home, you could be stuck with the bill.

Painting Companies

If you want a higher-quality job and want to lower the cost to paint your house exterior, then hiring a painting company is a good option. Painting companies usually have several painters on staff who are capable of completing jobs quickly and efficiently. Since they typically work on volume discounts with paint suppliers, they can often get supplies for cheaper than what you would pay on your own.

The downside to hiring a painting company is that some cut corners to save costs. For example, some companies use lower-quality paint or thinner coats to save money. Others might rush through the job so they can move on to their next customer.

That’s why it’s important to do your research before hiring any company to paint your house exterior. Make sure they have a good reputation, and that past customers have been satisfied with their work.

Paint Quality

In general, higher-quality paints cost more upfront, but they also last longer, require fewer coats, and look way better. Eventually, they save you money in the long run.

If you’ve ever purchased a can of paint for $20 and another for $40, you may have noticed that the pricier option generally provides better coverage, lasts longer, and looks better. That’s because higher-quality paints are made with higher-quality ingredients that provide better adhesion, durability, and color retention.

As a result, you’ll usually need fewer coats of high-quality paint to achieve the same level of coverage as you would with a lower-quality product. When a job is done right the first time, there’s less chance of costly touch-ups down the road.

Along with better coverage and durability, high-quality paints also tend to resist fading and staining better than their lower-priced counterparts. So if you live in an area with harsh sunlight or a lot of rain or snow, investing in a top-of-the-line product can help your paint job look fresher for longer.


Scraping damaged paint off of a house before painting

Damages to your house exterior will cause the cost to paint it to increase for multiple reasons. Here are some of the most common damages to exterior paint we find:

Dings, Dents, and Scratches

Just like your car, your house is susceptible to dings, dents, and scratches. These can come from things like falling tree branches, wayward basketballs, or even hail storms. Just like your car, these need to be repaired before painting can begin. Otherwise, the paint will just highlight the imperfections.

The good news is that most of these types of damages are relatively minor and can be easily repaired by a skilled painter. However, the time it takes to repair them will add to the overall cost of the project.

Sun Damage

If your house is exposed to a lot of sunlight, then it’s likely that the paint has started to fade. In some cases, this fading can be so bad that sanding and priming are required before repainting.

Sun-damaged paint can also be very flaky and peeling, which means you’ll have to fix the peeling paint before the painting can begin. As you might expect, all of this additional work will add to the overall cost of the project.

Water Damage

Water damage is probably the most serious type of damage that your house can suffer. Water can seep into cracks in the foundation and cause all sorts of problems, including mold and rot.

If you have water damage, then you’ll need to have a professional come in and assess the extent of the damage before any painting can begin. In some cases, extensive repairs may be needed before painting can even start—and all of those repairs will add to the cost.

House Size

Perhaps the most obvious factor that affects the cost of exterior painting is square footage. The bigger your house is, the more surface area our exterior painters will have to cover, and the more it will cost to paint.

Another size factor that affects the cost of exterior painting is accessibility. If our exterior painters can easily reach all sides of your home without having to use ladders or scaffolding, the job will go more quickly and therefore cost less. Conversely, houses with multiple stories or difficult-to-reach nooks and crannies will take longer to paint and may therefore increase the cost to paint them.

Paint Brand

Using Benjamin Moore to paint a house

There are three main brands of exterior paint that are most commonly used by professional painters: Sherwin-Williams vs Benjamin Moore vs PPG Paints. All three brands offer high-quality products that will provide excellent coverage and durability.

However, there are some key differences between them that can impact the cost to paint your house’s exterior.

  • Sherwin-Williams is generally the most expensive option, but it also offers the best coverage and longest lifespan
  • Benjamin Moore is a mid-range option that strikes a good balance between price and quality
  • PPG Paints is the most affordable option, but it may not provide the same level of coverage or lifespan as the other two brands

If you’re looking for the highest quality product regardless of cost, Sherwin-Williams is the way to go. But, if you’re trying to save money without sacrificing too much in terms of quality, PPG Paints is a good option. If you want something that falls somewhere in between, Benjamin Moore is a good choice.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your budget and your priorities.

How To Save Money On Exterior Painting Projects

Do your research. Before you even begin your project, it is important to do your research and get an estimate of how much the entire project will cost. This includes the cost of materials, labor, and any other associated costs. Once you have a good idea of how much the project will cost, you can start looking for ways to save money.

Shop around for paint. Just because one brand is more expensive than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better quality. In fact, you can find perfectly good paint at a fraction of the cost simply by shopping around.

Buy in bulk. If you know you’ll need more than one gallon of paint, buy in bulk to get a discount. This is especially helpful if you’re home is larger or you plan on doing any touch-ups in the future.

Do it yourself. The biggest expense when it comes to exterior painting is usually labor costs. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can save a significant amount of money by doing the job yourself. Just be sure to take your time and do a good job so that you don’t have to redo anything later down the road.

Get Tribble Painting To Paint Your Home Exterior

Whether you live in a small town or a big city, the cost of exterior painting can be a major investment. But like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This is especially true when it comes to your home’s exterior. A good exterior paint job will protect your home from the elements and add curb appeal, which can increase the value of your property.

If you are thinking about having your home painted, fill out our contact form today. Our exterior painters would be happy to help!

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